CBS4 Investigation Snags Fugitive With 1 Call

DPD Couldn't Find Her For 8 Months

Written by Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4) – After eight months of searching, the Denver Police Department was finally able to locate and arrest Tammy Garrett, a bookkeeper suspected of embezzling $86,985 from former clients.

The arrest came one week after a CBS4 investigation located Garrett and set up a face-to-face meeting with the woman via a single phone call.

“We would have loved to have caught her sooner,” explained Denver police Lt. Matthew Murray, a department spokesperson. He said after CBS4 found and spoke to Garrett, DPD “looked harder at it and tried to find her.”

Garrett served as a bookkeeper for Taylor Romero and Rebecca Miller, two Denver entrepreneurs who develop websites. They found Garrett through Craigslist and hired her to keep their company books, pay bills and manage credit card accounts. But by July of 2010, Romero and Miller said they found evidence Garrett was pilfering money, totaling almost $87,000.

On July 29, 2010, Romero, Miller and Garrett all went to Denver police headquarters. Romero and Miller told an investigator what had happened. According to police documents, “Garrett voluntarily gave a written confession.” Denver police reported at the time that Garrett “took money without asking. Ms. Garrett related she was taking money to pay for her medical bills because she does not have insurance.”

Det. Eric Nebel began working on the case. On October 25, 2010, Nebel had compiled enough evidence to obtain a probable cause arrest warrant for Garrett for felony theft. It was signed by a judge. Nebel e-mailed the victims that same day, “I was able to get an arrest warrant signed this afternoon for Ms. Garrett. I will try and have our fugitive unit get her picked up.”

In December the victims e-mailed the detective again asking if Garrett had been caught.

“I have an arrest warrant issued for Tammy,” wrote Nebel. “I do not have a good address in order to get her picked up. If someone can tell me where she is staying I can get her picked up.”

The following month, January 2011, Miller and Romero e-mailed the detective providing him with public records from the Colorado secretary of state showing Garrett was living in Englewood and had set up a new business, Bookkeeping Recovery.

“Thank you,” replied Nebel. “I just talked to Arapahoe County sheriff’s dispatch. They will send a deputy by to check.”

Miller says she continually bugged police about the case because she feared as long as Garrett was on the street, others would be victimized.

“I can’t sleep at night knowing there’s going to be more victims like us,” said Miller.

tammy CBS4 Investigation Snags Fugitive With 1 Call

Tammy Garrett (credit: Denver Police)

With no arrest made, in May of this year, Miller again e-mailed Nebel, this time asking if she and Romero should set up their own “sting” to capture Garrett.

“Would it be a good idea to pretend to be a new client, arrange a meeting, then have the police come meet her instead?” Miller e-mailed the detective. His reply: “Ms. Miller – I sent Jefferson County and Arapahoe County to the addresses. They were unable to find her. If you wanted to set up an appointment with her and call the police for a civil standby you could try it. I would caution you on getting yourself trapped into something that could turn violent or getting into an altercation where your legal grounds might be questionable.”

Murray was asked if police ordinarily encourage citizen-initiated stings.

“Thats not typically how we work,” said Murray. “It’s not necessarily the way to do things, but if it’s not a violent criminal, its something you could do.”

Finally, in May of this year, Miller and Romero, frustrated with the lack of results, asked CBS4 to investigate.

“You can understand our frustration,” said Miller. “We have her name, address, website, Facebook — everything,” said Romero. “She is the opposite of a fugitive, she is not in hiding whatsoever, and here we are with no closure.”

CBS4 simply called the phone number listed on Garrett’s business website asking if she would be available to discuss her bookkeeping services. She immediately called back agreeing to meet June 2 at a Starbucks in Denver. Garrett showed up on time for the job interview.

“My image is being sharp and accurate,” said Garrett as a hidden camera rolled. Asked if she had any previous criminal issues, Garrett replied, “Just a few traffic tickets, nothing else to worry about … I don’t even jaywalk at this point.”

Court records tell a different story, showing Garrett pleaded guilty in 2006 to forgery in Arapahoe County; and pleaded guilty in 2001 in Denver to check forgery, a felony.

She spent half an hour describing her bookkeeping business and her methods of operation. When she was eventually asked about the alleged embezzlement, she denied it ever happened.

“No, I never did, I never took the money,” said Garrett. She soon ended the interview and left saying, “I don’t want to be on camera for this.”

One week later, after CBS4 told Denver police about the meeting, Garrett was arrested. Murray defended police actions in the case saying, “It’s not like he (Nebel) put it in a drawer and didn’t do anything until last week. I know the attempts he made (to find Garrett) were unsuccessful. We would have loved to have caught her sooner,” said Murray. “We have a lot of different cases we would love to solve immediately. unfortunately we’re not able to do that. We don’t want to fail, we can’t catch everyone. Like every agency we have limited resources and we do the best we can.”

Murray said there are 10,000 active warrants in DPD’s system and the department’s fugitive unit, made up of six detectives, primarily focuses on pursuing violent criminals. He said the department’s fugitive unit apprehends 86 percent of the suspects they are assigned to pursue. Murray acknowledged property crimes — even ones involving nearly $87,000, are a lower priority than violent criminals.

For Miller and Romero the department’s reasons don’t pass muster.

“This just shows crime does pay, as long as you don’t answer the door when police come, there are no consequences for your actions,” they said.

“It’s just kind of unfortunate we’ve had to look to outside sources to draw attention and hold their feet to the fire,” said Miller. “They failed us, that’s all I can say.”

As for Garrett, she is scheduled to be arraigned in court Aug. 12 for felony theft of more than $20,000.

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  • Laura

    Doesn’t seem like the police tried real hard to catch this thief. Good for Channel 4, exposing the police for the lazy-a**es they typically are.

  • bira44

    Some years ago our home was burglarized. Our losses exceeded $30,000.

    The Denver Police detective who took the report told us that we could go to flea markets to see if the stuff was being sold there. That was the extent of the DPD’s involvement.

    We gave them leads, we asked them to look at certain individuals but the resonse was, “We don’t want to spook them.”

    It was nice, though, always being able to talk with the detective. He was always in his office. He only left to take another report and to tell the victims that they could go to the flea market to see if their stuff was being sold there.

    He seemed to have an inordinate fear of ‘spooking’ known criminals.

  • Mel S

    So why didn’t CBS 4 Investigates call the Police during the face to face meet since they new they were interviewing a wanted person?

  • Joe B

    Its typical for people to rush to judge the police department when they dont get what they want. Unfortunately the world does not revolve around you. There several more cases just like yours that need attention but just like article said there are only 6 fugitive detectives available to work, what’s the answer tothe story hire more cops.

  • ReRe

    Thanks You Channel 4 news. She was also a bookkeeper for our business. We had suspicion that she was steeling but had me convinced that it was a family member.

    • Still on Her Side

      Are you kidding me??? She’s DEFINITELY NOT a thief whatsoever! I’ve known this woman for YEARS And I’d trust her with my life! Check YOUR records and I’m sure you will see that NOTHING IS MISSING. Your probably donMt really even know her because if you did, you wouldn’t be saying these things.

      Either way, you should look up those “alleged victims” and see that they are being investigated for squandering MILLIONS and then I’m sure your story will change.

      When all of this is over, you’ll all see that she’s been innocent the whole time!

      • Sandy

        If you know her then tell her to call the person that is holding her bond. I can’t get a hold Tammy and have been trying for over a week. Hope she hasn’t left town.

  • Yawn

    I’m with Mel S and Joe B on this one.

    This is Petty

    Maass cares so much about the victims in the case that he didn’t have someone call Police when talking with the thief. I wonder if the victims (who appeared to be entitled and self centered) are happy that Maass didn’t make that call.

    The thief avoided police but met with Maas for a job interview? Shocker!

    The story is “CBS4 snags fugitive with one call” Really? Maas has handcuffs and a badge?

    It sounded like several attempts were made to find her and violent crimes should have priority.. Maass would really gripe if the cops kicked in a door for a theft warrant.

  • Confused

    This is a test….I have attempted to submit 2 posts to this discussion and they have not shown up. Are we censoring CBS4?

  • Not Buying It

    Ok, you’re intelligent. Think about it. If someone stole almost $90,000 from you, wouldn’t you be devastated?? You can tell they are lying by their reactions and body language. The guy keeps blinking during his answers and the girl is so chill when she speaks of the alleged theft.

    Obviously she (Tammy) knew something was up with them and discontinued business with them/and now, they’re trying to drag her name (and business) in the mud. Your own personal sting??? Really?? If she was so malicious, why would she make herself so easily accessible?

    • Jane Q. Public

      CBS4 how long will you leave this woman’s personal information up on this website for the whole world to see? Are you going to be responsible for identity theft? What will you do if she is exonerated? NOTE TO ALL READERS – THIS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!!! Will you post a public apology? That wouldn’t be enough for me!!!

  • Algonquin J. Calhoun

    Personally, if it were me, I would give the woman the benefit of the doubt, for as she admitted, she did such to feed her family and friends.
    As for the rest of the people who commented on this site, did any of you graduate elementary school? Not junior high nor even high school, because not a one of you can spell correctly. It’s spelled CORRECTLY, and your grammar and spelling mean one thing: Ghetto idiots.
    Please, please, PLEASE take the Darwin road and stop clogging our cities with your ignorance. We have an idiots to take care of and these folks need to leave Denver behind. We don’t like you. We won’t give you a job. We won’t support you. We won’t give you welfare. Leave!!

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